Family | Health

As soon as they saw their newborn they knew something was wrong

Baby Hermlata is a special baby girl. She was born with an extremely rare condition that threatens her life with every beat of her heart. That's because her heart is outside her chest.

She has ectopia cordis, a rare congenital heart condition that affects 8 in every 1,000,000 babies. Instead of having the heart protected by bone and cartridge, like it is for everyone else, the heart beats outside, visible through the thin layer of skin on the chest.

The condition is almost always fatal for infants, and her parents were devastated when they saw their baby.

Daily Record

"The doctor referred us to a district hospital, but the doctors told us that for treatment we have to take the child outside and her treatment will be very expensive," said Arvind Patel, the girl's father.

The family has qualified for medical assistance from the Indian government and Baby Hermlata will be treated in New Delhi.

Despite the rarity of the condition there is reason for optimism.


In the US a newborn with the same condition is recovering after a series of surgeries to protect his heart. A 4-year-old in Texas and a 7-year-old in Florida have both survived without surgery and are enjoying relatively normal lives.

As you can imagine Hermlata faces a hard road. She'll be incredibly fragile, vulnerable to the slightest collision or fall.

Hopefully she'll become another success story as we learn more about this terrible condition.

See it for yourself here: